For dinner tonight I made a version of Ina Garten's Lobster Macaroni and Cheese. as is my wont, of course, I made some tweaks. To start with, I cut the recipe in half, which gave Helen and I good servings and leftovers for tomorrow. I used an Australian lobster tail as the source of the meat. Inspired by Giada de Laurentis' recipe for Penne with Lobster and Bacon, I made the cheese sauce by frying 4 rashers of thick bacon slices. When the bacon was done, I drained the slices on paper towels. Meanwhile, in the same All-Clad Stainless 3-Quart saucier I combined three tablespoons of the bacon fat with ¼ cup all-purpose flour to make a roux, which I cooked to a very light brown stage. For cheese, I used 6 ounces of imported Italian fontina and 4 ounces of imported Gruyere. As the sauce began to come together, I chopped the bacon fine and added it to the sauce, followed by the cooked lobster meat and macaroni. Lastly, I used Panko bread crumbs mixed with 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings and 2 tablespoons very finely grated Parmesan as the topping. Otherwise, I stuck to Ina's directions. A side salad completed the yummy meal (if I do say so myself).
What to serve with this meal? An old saying holds that a wine's first duty is to be red, which is a proposition with which I am in complete agreement. I probably drink 20 red wines for every white. But this was not a meal for a red. Tannins and lobster make a bad match. Plus, you want high acidity to cut the richness of the mac & cheese. Scrubbing bubbles to refresh the palate might help too.
Aha! A brut rosé methode champenoise sparkling wine from Schramsberg fit the bill ideally. Crisp acidity. Scrubbing bubbles aplenty. Plus, it's at least pink, if not actually red.
A lovely pinkish-salmon color, with many very fine bubbles. Light cherry and strawberry notes, plus something floral (rose petals?) on the nose. The palate is much the same, while adding some yeasty bread flavor associations. It was a perfect match for the meal. Complementary. Refreshing. Great value (at $35). In context, I'd give it a grade of A. Standing alone, out of context, probably B+/A-